1. Sequence of Chandra Earth Aurora Images
The bright arcs in this sample of Chandra images show low-energy X-rays (0.1 - 10 kilo electron volts) generated during auroral activity. The images are approximately 20-minute scans during which Chandra was pointed at a fixed point in the sky and the Earth's motion carried the auroral regions through the field of view. The estimated altitude of the X-ray emission is 100 km. Auroras are produced by solar storms that disturb Earth's magnetic field and accelerate electrons which speed along the magnetic field into the polar regions. There the electrons collide with atoms high in Earth's atmosphere and emit X-rays.
(X-ray: NASA/MSFC/CXC/A.Bhardwaj & R.Elsner, et al.; Earth model: NASA/GSFC/L.Perkins & G.Shirah)
Related Chandra Images